I am writing in regards to Mike Soldner’s letter-to-the-editor on the “Dalai Lama’s luxurious exile” (11/8/2005. (if you didn’t see it, I’ve included a copy at the end of this email.) First of all, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Noble Peace Prize, specifically because he, like Gandhi, seeks remedies by peaceful measures. The very fact that Mr. Soldner knows who the Dalai Lama is and what Tibet is, proves the Dalai Lama’s point:
Tibet was invaded in 1956 and yet in 2005, people are still upset. In comparison, few question the 1957 Moroccan invasion and subsequent occupation of Western Sahara. In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and has occupied half of the island ever since. Russia meanwhile, has occupied the Japanese Kuril and Sakhalin Islands since the end of World War II. Many in the world are either ignorant of these occupations or seem to accept these occupations as legitimate. By comparison, the world knows the wrong that has been done to the Tibetan people.
Solder also questions the Dalai Lama’s income, travels and quality of life. He fails to mention that the Dalai Lama’s income is virtually the entire income for the entire refuge population of 800,000 Tibetans in Dharamsala, India.
Finally, Mr. Soldner questions how the Dalai Lama can identify with the Tibetan people who are suffering in Tibet. Unfortunately, this is becoming less and less possible as the Tibetan people have been forcibly relocated to alternative sections of China and their homes, businesses, and farms have been given to Han Chinese colonists. Were the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet, he would find few Tibetans to greet him.
Perhaps instead of pulling great people down to our level, we could aspire to become great men and women like them.
Dalai Lama’s luxurious exile01:00 AM EST on Tuesday, November 8, 2005
Something bugs me a bit about some “exiled leaders,” especially “spiritual” leaders — in this case, the Dalai Lama. By virtue of his position, he was able to gather up a fortune, which let him leave the “flock” behind when the going got really rough in Tibet — especially for the flock, who had no way to escape the troubled land. They are still there, dealing with the consequences every miserable day of their life; he is not.
I wonder what he is really “leading” from the safety of Western exile. Is it, unlike his spiritual followers in Tibet, just a wonderful and safe life? Is he doing his deserted flock any good from here? What about standing up for a principle right there, where the fight is? Remember Gandhi!